“Waupaca” is an Menominee word, Wāpahkoh, which means Place of Tomorrow Seen Clearly. For more than 10,000 years, the Menominee occupied about 10 million acres, including Waupaca and the Chain O’Lakes area. The Menominee in the Waupaca area moved between large villages on Taylor and Otter Lakes and camps along the falls on the Waupaca River.
In a series of seven treaties, the Menominee ceded their lands to the United States. The final treaty, in 1848, relinquished the last of the Menominee’s land, which included Waupaca.
The first white settlers, five men from Vermont, came to Waupaca looking for “the falls” in 1849. The settlers made camp near the end of what is now North Main Street with plans to harness the power of the falls and establish a community.
By 1852, a post office had been established and the settlement was officially named Waupaca. The Village of Waupaca was incorporated with the election of a president and trustees on May 4, 1857.
The City of Waupaca was organized on April 6, 1875. Today, the City of Waupaca has more than 6,000 residents and 25,000 people living within 15 miles of the city.